Friday, October 15, 2010


An architect’s rendering of the 60,000 square foot Lawndale Christian Medical Center being built in the 3700 block of Ogden Ave., a model of green technology & community empowerment.

    Bruce Miller of Lawndale Christian Medical Center, Apostle John T. Abercrombie of Kingdom Community Construction, 24th Ward Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon, and Rob Ferrino of Madison Construction agree on the need for the new Medical Center they are building, but also agree on the philosophy of who should be building it. (Photo by Brad)
We hear many excuses from unions, developers, contractors, and politicians for why it is impossible to hire local residents, especially African Americans, to work on major construction projects. Lawndale Christian Church and Medical Center, in partnership with Madison Construction, Kingdom Community Construction, and Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon, are sweeping away all of the excuses and proving that if your really want to change the culture and introduce fairness into the process, it can be done.
    Once again, Lawndale Christian is putting its money where its people are! It is constructing a brand new $16 million Medical Center from the ground up at 3756-58 West Ogden Avenue. They are not just building it for the people of North Lawndale, they are building it with them.
    This philosophy was determined at the outset by Lawndale Christian, General Contractor Rob Ferrino of Madison Construction, and Apostle John T. Abercrombie of Kingdom Community Construction, LLC. Rev. Abercrombie is Pastor of Truth & Deliverance Church at Laramie and Madison Street and his company is fresh from building the new PCC Clinic with local subcontractors and neighborhood residents at Lake Street & Lotus Avenue in Austin. Rob Ferrino is his neighbor. So, don’t tell them local talent can’t build a multi-million dollar project.
    The hole is just being excavated and already minority firms and local union laborers are involved. Ameri, the demolition contractor, is Black. Elaine King, the trucking company hauling away debris, is minority owned. Of the 25 subcontractors required for this project, five have been selected and four are Black owned.
    Bruce Miller of Lawndale Christian says, “This building is an economic engine.” It will employ 360 people to construct it. They will earn paychecks, pay mortgage notes, shop in the community, and become neighborhood stakeholders. Miller says the new Medical Center is needed because Lawndale Christian has outgrown its existing space.
    The new facility will not only make sick people well, it will help keep healthy people that way. The center will contain a state-of-the-art fitness center with an indoor track and a restaurant with healthy foods and juices. Miller notes that the existing fitness center is running at 100,000 visits annually. The new one will accommodate even more.
    The new Medical Center will add 300 permanent jobs for the community – more reason to call it an economic engine.
    The Medical Center qualifies for federal funding through the Davis-Bacon Act and it won $10 million in Stimulus funding through competitive bidding. The project received $150,000 in funding for green technology. It will have a geo-thermal heat pump with tubing running through the caissons to extract heat from the earth. Other energy-efficient technologies are being included in the structure, such as a solar powered hot water system. The 60,000 square foot building is slated for completion in December of 2011.
    Kingdom Community Construction has established a project office at 3820 West Ogden, where Apostle Abercrombie is personally interviewing job applicants. For an appointment, call 773/522-1945. He emphasizes that former offenders are welcome to apply. Abercrombie notes that when people are given responsibility, it gives them reasons to stay straight. Employment applications for the Medical Center project are also available at Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon’s office, 2100 South Marshall Boulevard, Suite 801. Interested persons may call 773/522-2430 for information.
    Lawndale Christian and its partners are proving that good community health doesn’t just come from having a medical center available, it starts with the building of the medical center!

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